HERKIMER, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) –As the snow begins to fly, The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) announced a new ‘Snow and Ice Pilot Program’ to keep Mohawk Valley residents safe this winter.

“This year we are switching to a liquid only operation that will utilize salt brine to coat the roadway in place of granular salt before it snows and actually during the event itself,” said NYSDOT Chief of Staff Todd Westhuis.

The program will focus on a 9.2 mile stretch of Route 5 in Herkimer County. Beginning at the Oneida County line and stretching to the village of Ilion. This pilot is comparable to one that was launched during the 2020 -2021 snow and ice season on Route 9 and Route 32 in Saratoga County. The brine is dispensed through a spray bar mounted to a plow truck with a large brine tank instead of a salt hopper.  

“We picked this section of road number one because its relatively flat and it’s also close to our residency here in Herkimer where salt brine is produced by our team,” said Westhuis.

This treatment will be used for storm preparations as well as during winter weather events. The switch was made in order to reduce the impacts of salt on this route without reducing the level of service or jeopardizing safety.

“This approach also addresses environmental infrastructure preservation and fiscal concerns. that said our plows will still be out in full force and service will not be impacted dot will still live up to its legally required obligation to keep roads safe. but how we maintain this stretch will be different,” said Westhuis.